These braised short ribs without wine or alcohol are delicious and tender. The oven mainly does the work while your house smells delicious! Pair with a side dish of creamy polenta for full meal.
Alcohol-Free Braised Short Ribs
Ever do a Google search for “short ribs”? Recipe after recipe has red wine – probably one of the most well known migraine triggers. After several clicks of frustration I set out to create my own delicious, cozy recipe that would make me not think twice about wine.
I said a small prayer while I poured in some apple juice, and I wondered if I was ruining the whole dish. “Luckily short ribs are fairly inexpensive” I assured myself. Of course my husband, with no fear, dug right in and exclaimed “Wow! These are really good! What’s in them?”. I have to admit, these were some of the best short ribs I’ve ever had. They may sound a little too sweet, but I promise they’re the perfect mix of a touch of sweet and a lot of savory.
Slow Cooker Short Ribs
If you wanted to do these in the crock pot you could sear them first and put them on high for 4-6 hours or low for 7-8 hours. I’d also add about 2 more cups of broth, just to make sure it’s kept moist. I am not a fan of doing short ribs in the instant pot, mainly because you can’t achieve that fall off the bone, melt in your mouth texture that you can from braising them in the oven. Plus you’re really only adding another hour to your cooking time and I promise the flavor is worth it. I like to use my 6 quart Le Creuset dutch oven for this, but if you’re looking for one that’s a little less expensive, the Lodge brand also performs well.
As for safe broth or stock, this one is tricky to buy. I make my own in the instant pot! If you can find this Pacific Bone stock of if you can tolerate a little bit of onion I like Trader Joe’s Hearty Vegetable Stock (NOT the low sodium).
The polenta is creamy and light, a perfect compliment to the savory short ribs. This would also be wonderful with whipped potatoes, butternut squash, or cauliflower.
This gluten free recipe is a perfect family meal for fall. The non alcoholic sauce is rich and flavorful, even without wine or vinegar. See options to make this meal whole30.
- 3 lbs bone-in beef short ribs You can get your butcher to make these for you. If they're on the small or fatty side, I'd recommend getting more pieces
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 large shallots chopped
- 1/2 cup carrots chopped
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp brown sugar or honey
- 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 cup organic apple juice no additives
- 2 cups stock or broth can be homemade or clean store bought
- 1 cups milk
- 2 cups broth or stock
- 1 cup polenta I used Bob's Red Mill
- 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese I like Vermont Creamery, but you could also use a clean cream cheese
- kosher salt and pepper to taste
Pull short ribs out at least 10 minutes before you intend to start cooking and season them with kosher salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 350.
In a heavy dutch oven, add 1 tbsp of oil and heat on med-high for a minute or two. Sear about 1 minute per side on all sides of your short ribs, until they're nice and brown. You may need to do this in two batches so you don't crowd your pan. If you put too many in at one time, they won't brown nicely.
Remove short ribs from dutch oven and set aside. Pour out any excess oil so only around 1 tbsp remains. Add shallots and carrots and saute for a minute or two, till soft. Then add garlic, brown sugar, and thyme.
Return the short ribs to the pot and pour in apple juice and stock/broth. Bring everything to a boil and then cover with a sturdy lid or tight foil and place in the oven at 350 degrees for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. These can also be left longer if needed. It's tough to ruin short ribs.
FOR THE POLENTA: 10 minutes before you pull out the short ribs, bring the milk and broth/stock for the polenta to a boil in a medium pan. Slowly whisk in the polenta a little bit at a time and continue whisking as it slowly thickens - about 15-20 minutes. You want it to be a mild simmer while you whisk, not a boil, so you may need to adjust your heat accordingly. Keep warm until ready to serve. If it gets too thick, you can add a little water, broth, or milk to thin out.
Pull the short ribs out of the pot and skim any excess fat off the top of the liquid mixture. Simmer the liquid 5-10 minutes until thickened if it hasn't already thickened up. Then return the short ribs to the pot and coat with sauce.
Stir the mascarpone and butter into the polenta and season with salt and pepper. Serve the short ribs on top of the polenta with a little sauce.
- Pulling the short ribs out a little earlier to take the chill off will help them to sear better.
- To make these short ribs Whole30 compliant, simply omit the sugar and honey.